Burke-Gilman Trail users will see a detour starting the early weeks of February as work on the Montlake Triangle Project – the triangular area from the corner of Northeast Pacific and Montlake to Stevens Way – gets underway.
Work started the week of Jan. 13 on the project that includes a new way for pedestrians and bicyclists to head up onto campus from that corner. The project has been the subject of planning, public documents and design for seven years.
Trees are being cut down from areas where as much as six feet of fill will be added and work on seismic upgrades got underway in a portion of the Triangle Parking Garage as part of the work on a new pedestrian route from the corner straight up Rainier Vista. Once completed, people will no longer walk at street level across Northeast Pacific Place but will instead walk over it on what’s called a land bridge.
The land bridge entails lowering Pacific Place 18 feet as well as adding fill so the ground from the corner slopes up over the land bridge, essentially creating an extension to the existing Rainier Vista.
A total of 228 trees are being removed. Most – 140 – are from the densely planted grove over the triangle garage. The total also includes 24 cherry trees that arborists and UW staff advised project planners were in poor condition and too stressed to transplant successfully, according to Andy Casillas, Montlake Triangle project manager with the UW Capital Projects Office. The trunks from the cherry trees will be provided for UW furniture-making and art projects, and other logs greater than 12 inches in diameter will be stored to be used as lumber for future UW projects.
Landscaping when the Montlake Triangle Project concludes in 2015 will include 180 new native trees on the site, according to Kristine Kenney, UW landscape architect. The other 48 trees being lost will be made up with trees planted throughout campus as a separate project.
The Burke Gilman Trail detour starting in February and lasting through March – the exact dates are still being determined – will skirt around the existing lower Rainier Vista.
In addition to the land bridge, a pedestrian bridge already partly constructed by Sound Transit will take people from the light rail station at Husky Stadium to the foot of Rainier Vista.